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Program for Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement

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Spring Highlights

Cynthia EnloeFeb. 13th. 7:00pm. Ice Auditorium. Dr. Cynthia Enloe, "Have We Already Forgotten Iraqi Women?: Some Feminist Warnings about Post-War American Amnesia."
It's now three years since the last American troops pulled out of Iraq and more than a decade since Americans watched in real time as their government led an invasion of Iraq. What do we remember? What do we forget? Iraqi women didn't disappear when our soldiers left. Paying attention to our own presumptions about Iraqi women and continuing to be alert to Iraqi women's own ideas and efforts will make us smarter both about wars, and about our own involvements in wars.

Mark JuergesmeyerFeb. 20th. 7:00pm. Ice Auditorium. Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer, "Religion and Violence in a Globalized World." 
Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer is Professor of Sociology, Affiliate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. One of the world's leading experts of religion, violence and conflict resolution, Juergensmeyer is perhaps best known for his widely read book, Terror in the Mind of God: The Rise of Global Religious Violence, published in 2000 and revised in 2003 in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001. Over his career, he has published more than 200 articles and 20 books on the role of religion in various social movements in South Asia, religion and politics the modern globalized world, Gandhi's approach to conflict resolution, and many other topics. Among his many honors and awards, in 2009 Juergensmeyer was elected President of the American Academy of Religion, the most prestigious academic society of scholars of religion in the United States. 

Andrew BacevichMar. 13th. 7:00pm. Ice Auditorium. Edith Green Lecture, Andrew Bacevich, "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism."
Andrew Bacevich is Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University; he previously taught at Johns Hopkins University and at West Point, where he graduated in 1969. He also holds a Ph.D. in American Diplomatic History from Princeton. With the US Army, he served during the Vietnam War, and has held posts in Germany and the Persian Gulf; he retired, as a Colonel, in the early 1990s. Time calls him "one of the most provocative – as in thought-provoking – national-security writers out there today." His book, Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country is a blistering critique of the gulf between America’s soldiers and the society that sends them off to war.

Contact: Patrick Cottrell at

Elaine ScarryMar. 18th. 7:30 - 9:30pm. Austin Reading Room, Nicholson Library. Ericksen Lecture by Dr. Elaine Scarry, "Thinking in an Emergency."
Harvard University social theorist Elaine Scarry will discuss her recent monograph Thinking in an Emergency, a study of the assault of democracy and human rights by nuclear war readiness and means of returning civic authority to American citizenry in counterpoint to the so-called Global War on Terror. 

Contact: Barbara Seidman at

Wafaa BilalApr. 1st - Apr. 30th. Linfield Art Gallery. Wafaa Bilal and Nada Shabout Art Exhibition.
Wafaa Bilal is a teacher at the Tisch School of the Arts and an artist known for his Shoot an Iraqi exhibit. Bilal makes site specific work and incorporates performance, other actors, video and technology into his elaborate productions. Nada Shabout, professor at the University of North Texas, will also come to speak during Bilal’s exhibit.

Contact: Brian Winkenweder at

Upcoming Events

Apr. 15th. 7:00pm. Jonasson Hall. Dr. Herb Maschner, "Why Men Kill: The Evolution of Violence and the Origins of War."

There is not a single major religion, civilization, or society in the recorded history of humanity that has not participated in some sort of violent conflict. While most social sciences see violent conflict from the view of the victims, to really understand conflict one must approach the topic from the point of the aggressors. Taking an approach that integrates social anthropology, history, archaeology, primatology, and evolutionary biology and psychology, we will discuss the ultimate foundations of group conflict in human history, and find that there are only three traits in the evolutionary history of humans (and chimpanzees) required for us to be warriors: the evolution of male status competition, the evolution of in-group out-group identification, and surprising for many, the evolution of cooperation.

Dr. Herbert Maschner is Anthropology Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Director of the Idaho Museum of Natural History (IMNH). His research interests include human biocomplexity and the environment, resource and community sustainability, long-term human impacts and interactions with marine ecosystems, fisheries, ocean modeling, and human ecosystem engineering.

Apr. 29th. 4:30pm. TJ Day 219. Documentary showing of Finding Face followed by a conversation with the director Patti Duncan.

This is a Gender Studies event co-sponsored by PLACE and the English Department. 

Dr. Patti Duncan, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, has been at OSU since 2008. She received her B.A. from Vassar College, and earned her M.A. and Ph.D. at Emory University's Institute for Women's Studies. She specializes in transnational feminist theories and movements, women of color studies, and feminist media studies. She is also interested in the areas of feminist motherhood stuides and critical mixed race studies. Professor Duncan teaches courses including "Transnational Feminisms," "Women of Color in the U.S.," "Disney: Gender, Race, and Empire," "Women in World Cinema," and "Politics of Motherhood in Global Contexts."

Patti Duncan is the author of Tell This Silence: Asian American Women Writers and the Politics of Speech (University of Iowa Press, 2004), and numerous articles about women of color, anti-racist feminist pedagogies, and transnational feminisms. She is co-editor, with Gina Wong, of East Asian Mothering: Politics and Practices (forthcoming, Demeter Press). She is also co-director/producer of Finding Face (2009),an award-winning documentary film exploring the effects of gendered violence in Cambodia,which has screened at fourteen national and international film festivals.   Her current research focuses on narratives of rescue, migration, and illegitimate motherhood in representations of women in the global South.

May 1st. 4:15pm. Location TBA. "The Ethics of Science: Using Wartime Innovations in a Post-war Setting."

War often drives new scientific innovations, as the immediate need for both new weapons and new ways to protect ourselves, stimulates investment in scientific research.  However, the legacy of these innovations can have both positive and negative impacts on society.  For example, the Haber process for producing ammonia was instrumental in gunpowder production during World War I, and drove the significant agricultural improvements following the war. Yet, the input of fertilizer has had major ecological impacts.  

Please join Pat Cottrell (Poli Sci), Brian Gilbert (Chemistry), Joelle Murray (Physics), and Jeremy Weisz (Biology) for a panel discussion on the ethics of wartime scientific innovations.

May 5th. Part of the Readings at the Nic series: Aimee Phan.

Aimee Phan will read from her 2011 novel The Reedecuation of Cherry Truong, a book about the experience of South Vietnamese families during the Vietnam War and afterward as refugees dispersed around the globe.

Contact: Dawn Nowacki and/or Barbara Seidman at

May 8th. The American Library Assocation/National Constitution Center Traveling Exhibit on "Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War."

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office is pleased to collaborate with the National Constitution Center (NCC) in Philadelphia on a new traveling exhibit, “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War.” The exhibition will travel to public, research, and special libraries; historical societies; museums; civic, community, and heritage organizations; and institutions of higher learning from 2009 through 2015. The traveling exhibition and tour are funded by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to the National Constitution Center.

Using the Constitution as the cohesive thread, “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” offers a fresh and innovative perspective on Lincoln that focuses on his struggle to meet the political and constitutional challenges of the Civil War. Organized thematically, the exhibition explores how Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the war—the secession of Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties. Visitors will leave the exhibition with a more complete understanding of Abraham Lincoln as president and the Civil War as the nation’s gravest constitutional crisis.

The National Constitution Center is one of the nation’s most exciting new museums and a leading provider of constitutionally themed education programs. Created through the Constitution Heritage Act of 1988, the NCC addresses the need to better educate Americans about their Constitution and citizenship rights and responsibilities. Its mission is to increase public understanding of, and appreciation for, the Constitution, its history, and it contemporary relevance through an interactive museum facility and national outreach programs.

May 19th. 4:30 - 6:30pm. Ice Auditorium (lower bowl only). PLACE Talks-- "Legacies of War and the Liberal Arts: Learning from Difference"

What insights can different disciplines and modes of inquiry offer about the legacies of war? How might integration of these insights help us learn more about the impact of war, broadly conceived? And what lessons might be drawn for the future? Please join us for a series of short, student-led talks that bring a variety of disciplinary perspectives -- sciences, arts, humanities, and social sciences – to bear on arguably the most consequential experiences of human history.

Faculty discussants include: Patrick Cottrell, Barbara Seidman, David Fiordalis, Tom Love, Scott Smith, Dawn Nowacki, David Sumner, etc.